Required Viewing: Dark & Gritty Drama/Thriller

These in my opinion, are absolutely the best dark & gritty drama/thriller based films that I've seen. I find no way to accurately or fairly rank these so they will be listed alphabetically.
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1.
Alpha Dog (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A drama based on the life of Jesse James Hollywood, a drug dealer who became one of the youngest men ever to be on the FBI's most wanted list. (118 mins.)
Director: Nick Cassavetes
“ I think This film certainly offers something for everyone with the number and range of characters featured in this. Justin Timberlake? Yes. I believe this was his first acting role, and he fills the role well. ” - grant-tom
 
2.
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
When two brothers organize the robbery of their parents' jewelry store the job goes horribly wrong, triggering a series of events that sends them, their father and one brother's wife hurtling towards a shattering climax. (117 mins.)
Director: Sidney Lumet
“ I'm very much a fan of most of the work from Ethan Hawke. I've also become recently interested in seeing more from Philip Seymour Hoffman. That's how I arrived to this title. It does not disappoint. ” - grant-tom
 
3.
Brooklyn's Finest (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Three unconnected Brooklyn cops wind up at the same deadly location after enduring vastly different career paths. (132 mins.)
Director: Antoine Fuqua
“ Just as he did with 'Training Day', Antoine Fuqua provides a full ride with this one. As a faithful follower of Ethan Hawke's work I gave this a look. He and the rest of the cast all give superb performances. ” - grant-tom
 
4.
Bullet (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Butch "Bullet" Stein is a Jewish junkie from the mean streets of Brooklyn, is paroled after eight years in prison... (96 mins.)
Director: Julien Temple
 
5.
Dark Woods (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.2/10 X  
A young married couple moves to a secluded area to cope with the wife's terminal illness. As the wife's condition gets worse... (103 mins.)
“ This is probably the least known film on this list. Don't let or the unknown cast of characters that fool you. Sometimes you have to search outside of your comfort zone to find the good stuff. ” - grant-tom
 
6.
Exam (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
The final eight candidates for a highly desirable corporate job are locked together in an exam room and given a test with one question. It seems simple yet confusing that soon, tensions begin to unravel. (101 mins.)
 
7.
Hard Candy (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A teenage girl raids a man's home in order to expose him under suspicion that he is a sex offender with pedophilia. (104 mins.)
Director: David Slade
 
8.
Hesher (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A young boy has lost his mother and is losing touch with his father and the world around him. Then he meets Hesher who manages to make his life even more chaotic. (106 mins.)
Director: Spencer Susser
 
9.
Law Abiding Citizen (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A frustrated man decides to take justice into his own hands after a plea bargain sets one of his family's killers free. He targets not only the killer but also the district attorney and others involved in the deal. (109 mins.)
Director: F. Gary Gray
“ I can't say that I take in many films from either Gerard Butler or Jamie Foxx. This was one that took me by sheer surprise. ” - grant-tom
 
10.
Meskada (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  
Passions run high when hope for a economically strapped town seems blocked by the investigation of a murdered kid, son of a county commissioner. (98 mins.)
Director: Josh Sternfeld
 
11.
Pride and Glory (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A family's moral codes are tested when Ray Tierney investigates a case that reveals an incendiary police corruption scandal involving his own brother-in-law. For Ray, the truth is revelatory, a Pandora's Box that threatens to upend not only the Tierney legacy but the entire NYPD. (130 mins.)
Director: Gavin O'Connor
“ Edward Norton provides another performance that left me more than pleased in this story about family, police and ethics and corruption. ” - grant-tom
 
12.
Red State (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Set in Middle America, a group of teens receive an online invitation for sex, though they soon encounter fundamentalists with a much more sinister agenda. (88 mins.)
Director: Kevin Smith
 
13.
Smokin' Aces (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
When a Las Vegas performer-turned-snitch named Buddy Israel decides to turn state's evidence and testify against the mob, it seems that a whole lot of people would like to make sure he's no longer breathing. (109 mins.)
Director: Joe Carnahan
“ From what I gather people either love or hate this one, nothing in the middle. I felt that Jermey Piven gave a superb performance, showing his range as an actor. The biggest surprise for me was Ryan Reynolds, growing tired of the sophomoric roles he played in prior films. He made a hard left and absolutely stole the show with his performance in this one. ” - grant-tom
 
14.
The Departed (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
An undercover cop and a mole in the police attempt to identify each other while infiltrating an Irish gang in South Boston. (151 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese
“ This doesn't feature the Leonardo DiCaprio that we've all seen in 'Titanic'. This features a packed house of stars to keep you thinking on the edge of your seat throughout the entire film. ” - grant-tom
 
15.
The Ides of March (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
An idealistic staffer for a new presidential candidate gets a crash course on dirty politics during his stint on the campaign trail. (101 mins.)
Director: George Clooney
 
16.
The Insider (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A research chemist comes under personal and professional attack when he decides to appear in a "60 Minutes" expose on Big Tobacco. (157 mins.)
Director: Michael Mann
“ Russell Crowe teams up with Al Pacino to portray the biography of Jeff Wigand, a chemist looking to expose the truth about "Big Tobacco" on "60 Minutes".

Very well done, indeed. ” - grant-tom
 
17.
The Recruit (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A brilliant young CIA trainee is asked by his mentor to help find a mole in the Agency. (115 mins.)
Director: Roger Donaldson
“ Al Pacino commands another outstanding performance with Collin Farrell. ” - grant-tom
 
18.
The Score (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
An aging thief hopes to retire and live off his ill-gotten wealth when a young kid convinces him into doing one last heist. (124 mins.)
Director: Frank Oz
“ Edward Norton takes his craft to yet another level in this film with Robert DeNiro. I seem to be endlessly amazed at his depth and diversity as an actor. ” - grant-tom
 
19.
The Shortcut (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  
Two brothers come upon a rarely used shortcut in their new town (100 mins.)
“ One more that is least likely to be recognized on this list. But I did want to include it. It's a bit of a diamond in the rough. Give it a chance. ” - grant-tom
 
20.
The Town (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
As he plans his next job, a longtime thief tries to balance his feelings for a bank manager connected to one of his earlier heists, as well as the F.B.I. Agent looking to bring him and his crew down. (125 mins.)
Director: Ben Affleck
 
21.
Trade (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Adriana is a 13-year-old girl from Mexico City whose kidnapping by sex traffickers sets in motion a desperate mission by her 17-year-old brother... (120 mins.)
“ Kevin Kline has always played some powerful roles. This one is no exception. ” - grant-tom
 
22.
Training Day (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
On his first day on the job as a Los Angeles narcotics officer, a rookie cop goes beyond a full work day in training within the narcotics division of the LAPD with a rogue detective who isn't what he appears to be. (122 mins.)
Director: Antoine Fuqua
“ What's there to say? If I weren't listing these titles alphabetically this might just be in the number one slot on this list. Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke. That's all this film needs to carry it from start to stop. ” - grant-tom
 
23.
You Don't Know Jack (2010 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A look at the life and work of doctor-assisted suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian. (134 mins.)
Director: Barry Levinson
“ Being a faithful follower of Al Pacino for as long as I can remember, I was eager to dive into this one. Wow. He does an amazing job portraying Dr. Death, Jack Kevorkian. ” - grant-tom
 
24.
White Lightnin' (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia, where every man owns a gun and a moonshine still... (92 mins.)
Director: Dominic Murphy
“ While this isn't all that closely related in reality to Jesco White and his family it is quite a stellar film inspired from the real-life subject it portrays. Nearly cinematically perfect with the use of auditory and visual representation. This is a must watch. ” - grant-tom
 
25.
Wonderland (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
In the police investigation of a brutal crime scene, one man was at the center of it all: legendary porn star John Holmes. (104 mins.)
Director: James Cox
“ Val Kilmer has always been hit or miss with me in his roles. I was rather skeptical going into this one. I was however rather surprised when I reached the end of the ride. ” - grant-tom